What is Previously On…?
Awards Radar obviously loves film, but we also love our television and streaming series, too. The challenge is that once a series has a couple seasons behind it, jumping in can be intimidating. That is why we created “Previously On…” The column will provide full-series recaps of the most buzz-worthy shows by an Awards Radar writer who is also a super fan.
Our goal is to help create new fans who may have felt left out and also build excitement upon established fans. Use it as you may; as a way to catch up, a refresher, or just a fun way to revisit the characters and storylines you love. The column will cover each series’ best episodes and music, and more. We proudly continue Previously On… with the Apple TV+ Series, Ted Lasso. Let’s watch together.
Ted Lasso Spoiler Free Series Summary:
Ted Lasso moves across the pond from Kansas City to London to take a job as the head coach for the AFC Richmond football team. His extensive experience with American football doesn’t exactly match up with the demands and rules of European football, but the always-smiling Midwesterner is determined to make the best of what he sees as an exciting opportunity. His assistant coach, Coach Beard, knows more about what soccer involves and is there to keep him in line, reminding him every so often about how the game works.
Key to Ted’s worldview is that a good attitude can solve anything. It’s the methodology he uses to get to know Rebecca, his new boss, and he hangs a sign above his office that reads “Believe” to serve as a constant motivator for his team. While Ted really hates tea – it just takes like hot brown water – he’s up for pretty much everything else, and he doesn’t care if the odds are stacked completely against him and the team since he’s going to keep on trying anyway to get the team in shape and make an impact on everyone around him.
Ted Lasso comes from Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Joe Kelley, and Brendan Hunt, who also stars as Coach Beard. Season one aired on Apple TV+ between August and November 2020, and season two premieres on Friday, July 23rd. A third season was ordered back in October of last year, and though its popularity may result in it continuing, that will complete the originally-intended story arc for this show.
The new head coach for AFC Richmond who comes from the United States with a distinct accent, mustache, and smile.
The recently-divorced new owner of AFC Richmond with high standards for all her employees.
The captain and oldest player on the team with a penchant for growling and swearing.
A model and Jamie’s girlfriend whose talents prove useful for the team.
The vain star player who has no interest in being part of a team if it takes away any of his glory.
Ted’s no-nonsense number two who stays serious but has a competitive side that comes out off the field.
The well-meaning Director of Communications who struggles to please Rebecca.
The team’s equipment manager whose kindness and dedication are often overlooked.
The eternally upbeat player from Mexico who joins the team and is seen by Jamie as a rival.
The sweet-natured player from Nigeria who misses home and works hard to become a better footballer.
The very dry, very serious reporter for The Independent who initially has it in for Ted.
Rebecca’s adulterous ex-husband and a major AFC Richmond fan.
Been avoiding watching Ted Lasso?
Here’s why you should give it a chance.
If you haven’t seen this show, it’s likely for one of three reasons. One: you don’t have Apple TV+. Two: you don’t like sports. Three: you can’t believe it’s actually as good as everyone you know has told you it is. The first issue is an easy fix, but the second and third are most worth discussing and speak to why this show is universal and winning.
In an interview with Awards Radar, Brendan Hunt, who plays Coach Beard, noted that he’s the only writer who actually loves soccer, and he makes sure to point out when a story idea doesn’t match the rules or possibilities of the game. Yes, these characters play sports. But this show is about much more than that, and the fact that Ted comes from a completely different sport only underlines that. The ensemble interacts in a particular way because they share a workplace, and their roles as teammates further deepen and complicate how they see and play off one another.
Ted himself is most representative of what there is to like about the show. He endures plenty of mockery, only some of which he actually knows about since he constantly misses British references and put-downs, but he never misses a beat, remaining perpetually optimistic about the future even if there’s no hope to be found. His leadership style is apparently so inspirational that it’s been co-opted by politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Beyond Ted, this cast is rich with layered, fleshed-out, and endearing characters. Those who serve as obstacles for Ted aren’t one-dimensional, and they have their own subplots that don’t relate to Ted. Even the most self-involved personalities are worth more than they initially seem, and this show’s near-dominance of some categories with multiple awards bodies is best explained by the strength of its writing and performances that makes every single player, no matter how small their role, worthy of praise.
There’s a reason this show is so universally beloved – it’s just a wonderful, funny, and heartwarming series that happens to be about sports. And don’t be turned off if it’s hard to understand the thick accents many of the characters have, just turn on closed captioning!
Our 5 Favorite Episodes
(We do not recommend skimming through. the series, but if you want to revisit the very best episodes, here are our favorites).
- “Trent Crimm: The Independent” Season 1, Episode 3
Directed by Tom Marshall; written by Jane Becker
- “Make Rebecca Great Again” Season 1, Episode 7
Directed by Declan Lowney; written by Jason Sudeikis
- “Pilot” Season 1, Episode 1
Directed by Tom Marshall; written by Jason Sudeikis & Bill Lawrence
- “Biscuits” Season 1, Episode 2
Directed by Zach Braff; written by Joe Kelly
- “The Hope That Kills You” Season 1, Episode 10
Directed by M.J. Delaney; written by Brendan Hunt
PREVIOUSLY ON… SEASON ONE
Season One recap (***spoilers included***)
Football coach Ted Lasso arrives from Kansas City to take over as head coach for the European football AFC Richmond team. He believes he’s been picked because of his skill in America, but in reality, owner Rebecca Welton is looking to sabotage her ex-husband’s favorite team as revenge for the way he treated her. Despite knowing nothing about soccer, Ted takes on his new job with unflappable enthusiasm, incurring much doubt from locals about his fitness for the role.
Ted begins winning hearts by paying particular attention to the needs and strengths of those around him. He wears Rebecca down by bringing her homemade biscuits each morning and expressing interest in everything she says, even if it’s meant as an attempt to get him to leave her office. His warmth and energy is not received well by team captain Roy Kent, but adhering to what he thinks Roy wants most earns his gradual respect. He notices Nate, the equipment manager, and gives him a tremendous amount of affirmation that he deserves much more than he gets. He even wears down Trent Crimm, a dryly serious reporter from The Independent intent on proving Ted’s uselessness.
Star player Jamie Tartt poses his own problems given that he thinks he’s God’s gift to mankind, but Ted has some help on that front from Jamie’s girlfriend, Keeley, who steers Jamie in the right direction and helps the team with PR. Keeley’s presence at the club is just as infectious as Ted’s, and she becomes a confidante for Rebecca. As she realizes that Jamie is just a pretty face obsessed with himself, Keeley gravitates away from him and towards an entirely different romantic partner at a much later point in his career: Roy.
As he gets to know his new territory with the help of his loyal right hand, Coach Beard, Ted finds himself pining for home and especially for the wife and son he’s left behind there. Knowing that he couldn’t make his marriage work eats away at him since he prides himself on fixing other people’s relationships, and, though he confronts excessive alcohol intake and depression, Ted channels his emotions into vigorously defending Rebecca when her ex-husband returns to ruin her life again. His selfless actions earn her eternal appreciation, as well as a long-delayed confession of her initial efforts to take him down. Rebecca also finally acknowledges the terrible way in which she has treated Higgins, her hard-working number two, who proves his dedication over and over again, even if the end result isn’t as polished as he intends.
Team dynamics become central to the action as the season progresses, including the arrival of a new star player, Dani Rojas, whose unbelievable positivity rivals Ted’s as he declares over and over that “football is life.” Jamie thinks only about his own future, resulting in his departure from the team. Roy’s attitude also puts him at odds with Ted, with the coach fully aware of the captain’s influence on the rest of the players. While Ted has built an impressive rapport for the team to improve its communication skills, its actual performance leaves much to be desired. Because she has faith in Ted, Rebecca tells him that the team will be back for another season.
SEASON MVP: While the easy answer would be Ted, it’s Keeley who manages to show up at all the right moments and steer three crucial players – Ted, Rebecca, and Roy – in the proper direction with her industry savvy and immutable pep.
UNSUNG HERO: Indisputably, this is Nate. He does so much for everyone and almost never gets the credit until a much-deserved promotion to assistant coach in the season finale that he has no idea is about to happen.
KEY MOMENT: It’s not easy to pick one, but seeing the use of the “Lasso Special” play in the finale, in which the players achieve maximum confusion by pretending to play football, really serves as a fantastic instance of Ted’s brilliance and others’ recognition of it.
Season One review:
What can be said about Ted Lasso that hasn’t already been said? On paper, the idea of Jason Sudeikis playing an American transplanted to England who thinks he knows what he’s doing and soon finds out he doesn’t probably read like comedy gold, but also sounds very much like a formulaic sitcom. This show avoids at every turn the inclination to go for the easy laugh or obvious plot development. It’s still quite funny, and there’s something very relatable and ordinary about it that makes it easy to watch. Much of it stems from Ted and how he interacts with everyone, never acknowledging that he’s the butt of the joke even if he is, which prevents this show from being derailed by immature subplots that on other series could dominate an entire episode.
It’s also hard to identify a favorite character aside from Ted because they’re all such excellent choices. Even someone as irritating as Jamie (actor Phil Dunster is much nicer) is great to see on screen, and season one offers only a taste of what’s possible given the rich ensemble. Half an hour doesn’t seem like nearly long enough to get to know everyone, and yet so many of the players, even those who don’t get star billing, have already had multiple memorable scenes that make it easy to recognize and like them.
Perhaps its great success is that, as mentioned in the above push for new viewers, a love for sports isn’t necessary to watch this show. It likely adds something, but each episode features just enough of the on-the-field action to remind anyone watching that it’s about soccer but never too much to take the show away from its primary focus, as a showcase of an international community and how they manage to find common ground, both on and off the field. Season two faces an arduous challenge since what this show has already delivered has been so good.
Season 1 Must-Watch Episodes Cheat Sheet:
“Pilot” Season 1, Episode 1
Directed by Tom Marshall; written by Jason Sudeikis & Bill Lawrence
“Make Rebecca Great Again” Season 1, Episode 7
Directed by Reed Moreno; written by BDirected by Declan Lowney; written by Jason Sudeikis
“The Hope That Kills You” Season 1, Episode 10
Directed by M.J. Delaney; written by Brendan Hunt
Best Music of the Series
Ted Lasso is best known for its jokes and its sports references, but there are also some strong musical moments to be found throughout. Here are three key song standouts from the series so far:
- “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel and sung by Hannah Waddingham; Season 1, Episode 7
Rebecca’s karaoke performance is truly magnificent, and watching everyone’s faces in the crowd shows how emotional it can be.
- “Bring It On Home” by Sam Cooke; Season 1, Episode 5
Ted enjoys a sentimental bonding moment with his son in one of the show’s more serious and heartfelt scenes that harkens back with this musical assist to Ted’s home life.
- “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” by The Yardbirds; Season 1, Episode 6
Each member of the team makes their own contribution to be burned as this buoyant tune plays.
Emmy Wins To Date
Screen Actors Guild Awards:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, Jason Sudeikis
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards:
Best Comedy Series
Best Actor in a Comedy Series, Jason Sudeikis
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Hannah Waddingham
Golden Globe Awards:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, Jason Sudeikis
Writers Guild of America Awards:
We hope you enjoyed this ‘Previously On…’ Please stay tuned for more. In the meantime, check out Ted Lasso (season one and two – starting July 23rd) streaming exclusively on Apple TV+.